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Continued: Bin Laden body guard to be first Gitmo prisoner to get partly public hearing

  • Article by: RICHARD A. SERRANO , Tribune Washington Bureau
  • Last update: January 26, 2014 - 6:21 PM

Details about Rahbi’s life in al-Qaida are contained in a 2008 Detainee Assessment by Guantanamo officials that listed him as a high risk of threatening the U.S. and also as someone with a “high intelligence value” to this country. Included in his file was his picture - hair cut razor-short, eyes dark, beard thick.

He was born in 1979, sold vegetables and briefly taught the Quran at a village mosque. He underwent militant training in 1995, joined al-Qaida three years later and moved with his pregnant wife to Afghanistan. He soon left his family to join bin Laden.

 

Other Guantanamo detainees told U.S. authorities that Rahbi “worked his way up” as one of the leader’s top “personal bodyguards.” In August 2000 he wrote a letter to bin Laden, asking for forgiveness if he had not lived up to his expectations. He soon was designated as a suicide operative for a Qaida plot to crash airliners into U.S. military facilities in Asia.

But that plan was scrapped because of “the difficulty involved in synchronizing the attacks,” intelligence records show, and two weeks after Sept. 11, Rahbi, expecting U.S. reprisals, wrote a last will and testament urging Muslims to support bin Laden “with their lives and their money.”

He was captured three months later and sent to Guantanamo. While there, he has thrown urine at a guard, damaged property and fashioned a weapon from a bent, two-inch nail tied to an orange string.

He also has remained of great interest to officials. “Detainee,” the records state, “is assessed to have abundant knowledge concerning high-level al-Qaida members and other operations.”

 

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  • A detainee shields his face as he peers out through the so-called "bean hole" which is used to pass food and other items into detainee cells at the Guantanamo Bay U.S. Naval Base, Cuba.

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